The Sweep with Hassan Hassan: Open Letter to the Nigerian Student


I write to thank you for taking the long road to life’s success. You have watched Nigerians of all ages, tribes, belief, colour and political parties take the shortcut route to success but you are not perturbed. They do so with the grant that their route is normal, Godly and the best. But you have proven them wrong. You have kept your mind and heart by coming this long but not there yet.
I also thank teachers and parents for moulding, helping and watching you grow to this point; for their hardwork, endurance and patience with your travails through to this stage; for helping, warning and disciplining you to resist the temptations on the route to life.
It was worth the wait. God has been looking after you; listening to your heartbeats and sees your idea of life in them. He has seen that you obeyed, followed, resisted and worked hard to this point. That is why He is taking care of the future where you aim. You have suffered enough and God is saying suffer no more.
God has therefore given you a new government, a new President since two years that is working hard for your future. You deserve it. But your enemies, the bloodsuckers of many like you are still doing everything to stop and frustrate your government. Not that they are too powerful to handle. It is just that God has a purpose in what they are doing. He is using all the chances and the evidence of their dirty handwork to catch them on good reason in hell.
You have suffered much. But now, there is a great opportunity in the springing of more schools; with the determination of passionate teachers; with a government committed to education; with many young children willing to go to school, to ensure no child remains out of school. When we are all genuinely educated, no one can enslave us again. Never again!
More than parents and teachers, all of society – communities, groups, volunteers must all take responsibility; face the collective task to rebuild the future of every child through formal and informal processes.
We must take every child as our own and think about them, help them, teach them, tell them like you take your own child. But it is more of a challenge to also train the child on the planes of truth, dignity, respect, honour and integrity. Thank God for what you are anyway.
But it is not yet uhuru. Much is still in decay, away from the eyes of the only man in government who is genuinely your love. As you go higher into further studies, you will find a lot of contradictions between what is and what should be; contradictions between what they already know from the books and what exists out there, between what they are taught and the scarcity of moral behavior in larger society. They will ask many questions and find only few answers. They will realise that for some questions there are no answers for life.
I apologise on behalf of all parents. Our children watch us as role their models and the only example for their own moral conduct. There is just no justification for the present moral decay in society; the neglect of minors, the needy, the helpless, the orphaned, the widowed, the divorced, the overburdened, the abandoned. There are just many questions that we must begin to sit up to answer because the education of the future is likely to dig out the truth about our failure as parents, as teachers, as leaders.
But we must rise up to the challenge of our failure and admit the weakness of our humanity to take and heed the handed down values of our good religions; failure to take after the heritage of our pious, past leaders and scholars; failure to follow the example of best of humanity in history, in Bauchi and beyond; failure to live true to our knowledge, belief and values.
We could not even honestly and sincerely explain the story of  the factors intervening in the dynamics of society – the impact of socioeconomic changes; of  colonisation, imperialism and westernization; the influence of the mass media; the politicisation of religions and religious values; the callous and reckless love for money and the pursuit of luxury; our obedience more to our hearts against obedience to the righteous, to the learned, to divine and man-made laws; against obedience to parents, to leaders and to Allah. We are sorry. We will make it up to you.
Differences among our people
Dear students, you will find a lot of differences among our people as you go higher – in the language we speak, in the way we live and pray; in the part of Nigeria we stay or come from; in what we wear and eat; in the manner we talk and act. There are so many other impossible differences.
The truth is they are natural differences divinely ensured for identification and the appreciation of each other under the banner of humanity. We are different even as individuals in our own families. We differ in thoughts, belief, creed, choice, likes, dislikes. We differ in age, in educational qualifications, in height, in size, in income, in the kind of work we do to earn a living.
But our differences are normal and a blessing. Don’t listen to the current drumbeats of hatred. Two persons facing each other differ over one thing, right before them, in the open. The number 6 is six from my side and nine from your side. It is normal. It is humanity. The fingers on our hands and the fingerprints teach us there are no two persons who are exactly the same, in the whole of the world. That is the colourful beauty of our humanity.
We are all humans and what matters is our kind of hearts and minds. What matters is our noble human character; knowledge for self and for all; faith and trust in each other; respect for each other. What matters are good neighbourliness, good community, good society that we all must ensure to be.
You will find out some few, selfish, wicked, greedy persons among our leaders who take advantage of our ignorance, illiteracy, sentiment due to frustration, poverty, and hunger; they use our differences to divide us further over common issues, common problems, and common efforts and set us against each other in anger, hatred, leading to mobs and violence. They are still fighting your new government.
They divide us over collective efforts, common thoughts about our problems and how we can solve them together. They divide us through groups, associations, clubs and unions we join, by inciting us against each other through the different mosques and churches; by generalizing issues through stereotypes, by telling lies about why and how things are the way they are.
But you will also find few good persons around, all over with good hearts – gentle, kind, humble, generous, helpful, tolerant, welcoming, loving and silent. They are silent because you will find that they don’t talk much and they don’t speak badly about others. They live a true life to the teachings of their religion and to values of a good human life, to seek the pleasure of Allah.
You will find that most of those who speak loud all over and always and tell you bad about others in the privacy and the silence of group meetings are the cruel, wicked persons among us. They are around you, all over the place, everywhere you go in Bauchi, in Nigeria, in the world. They speak good values only in the openness of public and to the gallery. They don’t live the good they preach.
You will also find out that the selfish; self-centered persons are rich and healthy. They have big houses, big cars. They have everything you don’t. They can buy anything you can’t. They only think about themselves, their families. Some of them don’t actually take care of their families. They only go round bragging they do so. Their money is useless to even themselves because it was stolen.
They are always sad from within but pretend they are happy. Their conscience is fighting them inside. They are traumatic, imprisoned internally by the captivity of their greed. Happiness is not in keeping everything to yourself and denying others. Happiness is in sharing, in helping, in teaching, in serving.
Be careful as you grow
You will soon find you need to be careful as you grow. You will find that the bad always talk about others. The good talk about issues, things. The bad is always negative, preach hatred and are too noisy. They appear clean, innocent, good looking. But their hearts are dirty. They can easily convince you into their life. Avoid bad, negative persons. If anyone or any group tells you bad about others, leave that group because you are in the wrong group. They are the least of cult groups. Avoid any group too secretive. They can be true cult groups, especially in the universities and polytechnics.
You will also find many persons around us, everywhere we go, have little or nothing to use, to eat and nowhere to live. They roam and sleep on the streets. They are women, children, and even men. They are victims of circumstances, victims of bad leadership, and victims of corrupt, greedy, self-persons who took away everything to themselves and left the many with nothing. But they may also be victims of their own choices. This is because the choice we make in life matters. If we choose not to go to school and not to do anything for yourself, you will be a problem to yourself, a burden to your family and a liability to society. Make a careful choice.
Every society has its own type of problems. In our case, you will find that our problems are multiplied by the selfish life many of us establish in our families. Those who have don’t share, don’t care. The few opportunists in government or politics have all and many have none. It is because no one cares or only a few do. We need many persons to care more, to do more to help more. But you don’t have to be bad. Be stronger. If you change or keep a good heart already, you can do more.
You have something to do at your level because everyone can do something. Or change your heart for good if you can’t do now. Many persons are needy and hungry. But they don’t need your money. They rely on Allah for everything. But as members of the human family, they need association and identification from us, from you. You can give kind words, you can smile, and you can share a sachet of pure water, a chunk of your cake. You can hold the hands of the needy, talk to them sit next to them, talk to them about life and how it has been to them.
You will also find later after school that your salary as a government worker is not enough to do what your heart desires for yourself, your family and for others. That is why you must study and work hard to avoid working for the government. Know your subject. Translate your knowledge into what you can do with your skills and huge human capacity to perform wonders. Your President is working hard to help you realize your dreams.
Please do remember that every idea you need to be good in your field cannot all be found within the four walls of the classroom or from your teachers alone. Read many books. Ask questions. Discuss with your classmates. Pass your exams well. Meet people. Go places. Do not be a local champion. Mix. Mingle. Share.
You will find your skills will build a small business with the help of a small loan from the government. Soon, your business will grow big. You will be your own master. You will employ others, make money, make a family, help your family, help the needy and donate to good causes. You will be happy. Others will smile, laugh, be happy and live well because of you. There is no better joy in life.
But you will find bad friends, bad peer group who will discourage you from living your dream and accomplishing it. They are not in a particular group, tribe, religion or section of the State or Nigeria. They are everywhere. They can be even in your family. Don’t let anyone tell you that your enemies are those who are different from you. In fact tell everyone you don’t have enemies because your heart doesn’t know hatred; because your parents, teachers didn’t teach you to hate. They taught you to love. Don’t allow anyone come in your way. Avoid bad influence. They are evil. Leave them.
Listen only to what will help you live your dream. Follow your heart, along with your mind. Be different. It is your right to be different. If you are right in what you choose in line with what your parents, teachers, and Allah taught you, no other opinion matters. Be strong. Keep your faith and your belief in a common humanity. Keep the values of your good family traditions of traditions of selfless life; of Tafawa Balewa, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Ahmadu Bello, and Obafemi Awolowo traditions. Don’t give them away for anything. They are your only real wealth. Don’t ever forget where you come from. It is the pathway to honesty.
You will also find that many persons hate the truth and despise anyone truthful. They are all over, left and right. You work together, may be live together, and travel together. They live for money through dubious means and through lies. They can do anything to get money. They can sell their faith for money.
You see them pray but they are empty hearted. They make money they never use. They die and leave it behind, away from even their family or relations. Sometimes they are more difficult and even more cruel. You have to understand how poor they are in their hearts and minds. They are mean, cruel and small. You are bigger because you have a bigger heart, a good heart, and a good mind. Whatever happens, don’t give up your principles. Let things go but keep your heart and mind. Don’t give them away for any amount, for anything.
Respect is scarce
You will find respect is scarce. Many persons have no respect to anybody, to any group. You are different only if you keep your own respect to self, to anyone, to any human. This is what your parents and teachers taught you to do. Respect other persons or groups different from yours. Forget our differences. They are just symbols. We are all humans.
We can sing to each others’ song. We can dance to each others’ drumbeat with the same rhythm and dance steps. We are all one. We are humans. We all have personal dreams and goals. And we love each other. We share what we have. We build a society together.
We honour ourselves by honouring others. And we are sincere to each other, to society, to government, and to Allah. You have my best wishes in your further studies and in your life ahead. Have a good day and enjoy your studies. Remain blessed.
Yours sincerely,Hassan Hassan
Hassan Hassan
08050551220 (text only)


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